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Wednesday, January 20, 2010
I was just barely awake this morning when the building began to shake. Being my first night in country I wasn't prepared psychologically. I felt like a train was coming, but then the shaking continued. I ran outside initially, just on the balcony but quickly went downstairs. I'm not sure how long it lasted but likely at least 30 seconds. My friends Gwen and Nick said that it flelt similar to the earthquake last week. they had been receiving many tremors and they knew this one was more intense and of longer duration. we weren't surprised when we heard it registered as a 6.1.
We quickly went down to the airport to assess the damage. Everything was fine there but they were rocking.
Last night we were trying to plan and strategize. I was appointed as airport control for medical planes arriving. The past few days Danny, Nick and Gwen had been managing all of these duties on their own. Air traffic control, plane direction, security. This is no easy task as I learned today.
We had over 25 planes land in the Jacmel airport. Many small 4-6 seaters from Fort Lauderdale shuttling people and supplies. Small aircraft from the Dominican Republic with the same. Agape, MFI and pilots that had just vollunteered their time and planes to drop people off.
We also had a large Canadian contingent arrive today, with over 6 hercules aircraft and 110 soldiers. They will augment the DART team that is already on the ground.
Many helicopters, US military, Candian S&R from their supply ship in the harbour. The US Blackhawk is just about the biggest chopper I've ever seen. And when those things touch down, you can't imagine the wind and sound.
Actually the Herc was the loudest, as earlier in the day they were testing the runway for stability so they really had to push their engines. I'm pretty filthy at the moment and we're all very sunburnt but that's all just a good day's work.
So, it was a crazy day to say the least and when I sit back now and 8 pm it's hard to believe what we're in the middle of right now. As the Canadian and American choppers would arrive, they would bring tons of supplies. These were carried offf by hand...both Military and Haitian personnel joined in. The US didn't have any people at the landing site so the Canadians were shuttling their supplies and delivering them to the awaiting World Food Program trucks which then took them to the UN Secured WFP.
Just thought I would share with you the work of my friend Sarah Wallace from Edmonton, Alberta Canada. She was featured today as "The Third most intriguing person in the US" on CNN. She's sitting with me now. She came to Haiti over one year ago. Althought she is trained as a midwife, she came to teach and start an orphanage. At the young age of 24, she's a pretty incredible gal.
At 4 pm today we tried to provide some coordination to volunteers and teams arriving on the ground. All NGOs in the area had a meeting at Hospital St Michel with the hospital administration and regional Ministry of Health. To date there has been no coordination of work on the ground. that's right, a job that I thought the UN or red Cross should be taking over is just not happening. Jacmel has several docs, surgeons and nurses. Too many for the present needs of the city. They are in dire lack of supplies. In our final discussions we designated the group CCH, based in the US, to work as the hospital liason. As a group of NGOs we will organize ourselves with the local Ministry of Health to go where the needs are greatest.
The epicenter of the earthquake hit Grand Goave and Petit goave not much more than 20 miles from here. We had a medical team of EMTs out there today and they witnessed devastation. 4 people in need of amputations, one amputation in the field with a saw and no anesthetic, a field of 1500 people awaiting health care. we are trying to arrange flights into there tomorrow. We have told the Canadians about the situation, but their present mandate is to set up the field hospital in jacmel. We are hoping to reach the area tomorrow by private aircraft My new best fried Jonathan is willing to fly just about anywhere with his small cesna. He did a recon mission today but was unable to land. They advised the people to clear the airstrip with machetes to cut down some trees. We are hoping it will be ready in the morning.
Our other options for flights is via Leo gane, where we di have several planes deployed today. Currently MSF have a great field hospital there, but just to the East in Christianville they are in dire need of supplies. Their hospital was severely damaged. Grand Goave and Petit Goave are about 30 minutes by truck so that may be our alternative for supplies/personnel tomomorw. A helicopter would be ideal, the current US and Cdn choppers are being used mainly for PAP. So if you know of someone in the south with a chopper, send them to Jacmel. We have a full team ready with supplies to send their tomorrow. Let's hope they can get out.
So, what do we have for healthcare in Jacmel right now? The hospital is open with people still outside on stretchers. THe OR is functioning but supplies are minimal They were running out of Halothane anesthetic. Did I mention that I personally gave $160 tonight to the hospital administrator to buy gas for the generator. We had to call the gas station owner personally to get it. And this was at about 7 pm, when we were already using flashlights to get out of our meeting.
The clinic in Cayes Jaccmel is open and functional but they have no supplies for their OR Dr.. Philippe arrived today and hopefully he will get that functional.
The FOTCOH clinic was open today providing medical care.
The Canadian military is camped out at the airport, the UN base and their newly claimed land in Raymond, in the care of Danny Pye with haitian children's home.
Supplies, we received some via cargo ship from the DR and hoping for more tomorrow. Of course we're getting many by plane but the needs are still great for medical eqment.
I am hoping my good friend Dr. Charles Rene l arrive tomorrow to begin work in Lavallee de Jacmel.
So, here we 9 pm, just debating whether we'll sleep inside or out. I think I'll stay in and just hope my spidey senses will tingle if another quake comes. Truly, our house is very secureand I feel comfortable here.
For photos of our days adventure check out the fook site of Gwen Mangine....that's where I'm staying.
Tiffany Keenan, MD CCFP
Haiti Village Health
"Sustainable Health Care in Haiti"
7 Marley Beach Drive
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Posted by Dr Tiffany at 9:52 PM